A former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and the 14th Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi, has asked Nigerians not to panic over the new policy introduced by the apex bank to limit cash withdrawals.
The CBN last week restricted cash withdrawals from over-the-counter and Automated Teller Machines, ATMs, to N100,000 and N500,000 per week for individuals and corporate organizations respectively.
The apex bank said in a circular to all Deposit Money Banks, DMBs, and other financial institutions that daily withdrawal from ATMs would now be N20,000 subject to N100,000 per week.
But Mr Sanusi, who said people had been asking for his opinion on the matter, explained that the new policy would only affect politicians who deployed heavy cash to rig and compromise the electoral process.
He stated this during his weekly Islamic lecture on his Facebook page.
He advised Nigerians, especially the poor, not to be deceived by the narratives of politicians who are only interested in whipping up sentiment to gain sympathy from the masses they have impoverished.
“If you would recall, this is not a new policy; it’s a policy that I introduced while I was the CBN governor. In 2012, we introduced a policy called “cashless Nigeria.”
“And we started in Lagos, and subsequently in five states and the FCT.
“Our reason was because the world was going digital; it has gone beyond moving about with cash. So we wanted to ease financial transactions in the country.
“I recall that a lot of people kicked against the policy when it was introduced. But now, people are benefiting from it. When banks were shut during the COVID-19 pandemic, people easily went to the ATM machines and withdrew their cash.
“People can now also go to the market or a restaurant and make payments with credit cards.
“So this is a policy that has been going on for 10 years and is still evolving.
“The country has progressed to the point that we can make transactions without carrying huge amounts of cash.
“And my second advice to Nigerians is that they should be careful of what politicians say to them, because they are the worst hit by this policy and not the poor masses.
“Politicians would spend four years looting the treasury and inflicting hunger and suffering on the masses. But they would bring out the looted cash during elections to bribe the police, SSS, INEC, judges, mobilize thugs, get them hard drugs, and arm them to intimidate and deprive voters of voting for their preferred candidates,” he said.
Mr Sanusi further stressed that the policy would allow the banks to easily track the account to which the looted funds are being transferred.
“So this new policy by the CBN would drastically reduce these electoral malpractices.
“Because even if you want to bribe the security operatives, INEC, or judges to rig the election for you, you will have to pay it through their bank account, and the money can be easily traced.
“Our democracy allows citizens to vote for candidates of their choice, not those imposed by the most powerful person who has looted the treasury.
“But we have a history in this country where the person who stole the most money from the government coffers rigs the election to their advantage and spend another four years.
“But with this new CBN policy in force, even if you loot, you must gather it somewhere. and if you want to make use of it, you must bring them out through the bank.
“And everyone can see where the money is coming from and where it is going.
“So I am appealing to Nigerians to tread carefully and not fall into the trap of the politicians. I will urge Nigerians to embrace this policy and commend the CBN,” he added.